Whether you’re new behind the wheel, a pedestrian, or a seasoned pro, driving impacts every Canadian. As a parent, safe driving is even more important! Children may be walking to or from school or in the car behind you. No matter where they are we want to ensure they are safe.
With Canada’s Road Safety Week just around the corner (May 17-23), it’s time for Canadians to consider how we can make our roads safer. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Safer You. Safer Me.” It is meant to emphasize that the decisions drivers make not only affect them, but also their passengers, other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
According to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, there are around 160,000 car accidents annually – that’s approximately 439 accidents every day. And according to a recent CAA poll, impaired, distracted and aggressive driving are the top road safety threats in Canada.
With road safety on our minds, we begin to ask ourselves, “Do safety features in vehicles actually help make the roads safer?” According to a poll by Car Gurus, 70 percent of Canadians believe driving assistance features make travelling by car safer. Canadians are also most interested in technology that helps them keep in control while in the vehicle vs. technology that allows the vehicle to take control.
To help get the word out about road safety, Chevrolet teamed up with former Canadian NASCAR driver, host of Canada’s Worst Driver and auto safety expert Philippe Létourneau to share his tips and learnings from his experience as a seasoned driver.
Tip #1: Driving position
- Sit close to the steering wheel to maximize control. NASCAR drivers sit very close to the wheel because the closer you are to the wheel, the easier it is to maneuver your vehicle. Position your seat close enough so you can comfortably operate the steering wheel, break, and gas pedals properly.
- Additionally, ensure your hands are at the proper position on the steering wheel – 9 and 3 o’clock. This gives the driver a better range of motion enabling them to turn the wheel almost completely without tangling up their hands.
Tip #2: Wear your seat belt correctly
- The simple mechanism of wearing a seat belt correctly can save your life in an accident if worn correctly. Ensure you fasten the lap and shoulder belts tight across your body.
Tip #3: Know your brakes
- The anti-lock brake system (ABS) allows you to brake hard and steer without locking up the wheels. This is a sensation that most people are not familiar with. I recommend people get a feel for the ABS by going to an empty parking lot to practice slamming on the brakes. Remember, this system is not failsafe, so please always stay alert.
Tip #4: ‘’Look where you want to go’’ (Philippe’s signature phrase from Canada’s Worst Driver)
- Did you know that 80 percent of all accidents could be avoided if a driver had one more second to react to the impending collision? In this case, it’s important to be proactive, not reactive as a driver. I recommend that every driver look 500 meters ahead on highways and 2 blocks ahead on city’s street. This way, you will get a feel for the traffic pattern, and you will be able to recognize any potential problems.